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Russia proposes solution to Ukraine crisis, West ratchets up sanctions

from:新华网2014-03-11 15:23

MOSCOW, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday Russia had drawn up proposals for solving the Ukraine crisis within a legislative framework, while Western countries threatened further sanctions on Russia.

The proposals would "put the situation on the basis of international law" and take into account all Ukrainian interests, said Lavrov when briefing Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi.

The Russian proposals came after the United States also proposed solutions to the Ukraine crisis on Friday, which Moscow was not satisfied with, Lavrov said.

U.S. proposals contained "a concept which does not quite agree with us, because everything was stated in terms of allegedly having a conflict between Russia and Ukraine and in terms of accepting the fait accompli," Lavrov said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who was expected to visit Moscow on Monday, postponed his schedule on Saturday, saying that Washington was drafting proposals.

"Frankly speaking, we have many questions about this (document), " the Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying.

Lavrov also said Saturday Russia was willing to continue talks with the current Ukrainian authorities.

"We are ready to continue the dialogue on the understanding that the dialogue must be honest, partnership-like, without attempts to show us almost as a party to the conflict," Lavrov said.

Regardless of Russia's proposed solution, Western countries ratcheted up their pressure on Russia by threatening further sanctions.

Besides imposing visa bans and financial sanctions since Thursday on a number of Ukrainians and Russians, U.S. senators are preparing a bill that includes further sanctions and aid provisions, the U.S. Senate said on Monday.

The United States is to deploy more F-16 fighter planes to Poland in the coming days and weeks, in response to the crisis in Crimea, the epicenter of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine since Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by parliament on Feb. 22.

It would also intensify defense training with Poland in light of the crisis in neighboring Ukraine, the Pentagon said Monday.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by phone on Sunday with his Polish counterpart Tomasz Siemoniak, who thanked Hagel for looking at options for deployment, said Pentagon spokesman Steve Warren.

"This is an important time for us to make it crystal clear to all our allies and partners in the region that the United States of America stands by them," Warren said.

The U.S. has sent six more F-15C Eagle aircraft to beef up the air policing mission in the Baltics. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy deployed the USS Truxton guided missile destroyer to the Black Sea in the past week.

The European Union is also preparing to impose travel bans, asset freezes and other restrictions on Russia, it confirmed on Monday.

"There is no sign of de-escalation from Russia's side and so the EU may have no choice but to move immediately to travel bans, asset freezes and the cancellation of the EU-Russia summit," an EU official said.

During a meeting between British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday, both leaders agreed on the priority of de-escalating the situation in Ukraine, the British Prime Minister's Office announced Monday.

"They both agreed that the priority is to de-escalate the situation and to get Russia to engage in a contact group as swiftly as possible," the statement said.

Britain is to host an international meeting on Tuesday to discuss possible sanctions for a list of Russians if Russia does not set up a contact group and start dialogues with the Ukraine, Cameron said Monday.

However, the prime minister also highlighted the difficulty in implementing the sanctions.

"We have to accept that there will be real and quite painful consequences for European countries if we have to go ahead with sanctions," he said, adding these things are "never easy" to carry out.

"It was pointed out at the meeting that some countries might suffer more with energy sanctions, some with financial sanctions, and some more with defense sanctions," he said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday cautioned against "hasty actions" and "provocative rhetoric," calling on the international community to help calm the situation in Ukraine.

The international community must help the key actors to calm the situation and work toward a durable and fair political solution, he stressed.

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